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This course is the third in a four-part series devoted to mastering the premiere graphics creation application, Adobe Illustrator, version CS6. Industry pro Deke McClelland takes a project-based learning approach to the key features in Illustrator, including Recolor Artwork, transparency, masks, blend modes, strokes and fills, and dynamic effects. The course also covers techniques for creating custom gradients, designing logos, generating photorealistic neon text, and wrapping type around objects. Plus, Deke shows how to call up the most essential features by organizing your workspace and employing time-saving keyboard shortcuts, how to manage the color settings, and how to adjust a few settings to make the program work even better.
In this movie I'll show you how to convert our wiggly path outlines into art brushes, and then we'll turn around and apply those art brushes to our character outlines. And if we have any problems, which we will, then I'll show you how to resolve those problems. So I've gone ahead just for the sake of clarity here and numbered each one of these Chalk-brush alternatives. So the first one, #1, has the cleaved off edges on the left and right hand sides. #2 has the brush edges that exceed the rectangle that represents the path outline, and then #3 is just sitting there waiting for me to modify it.
Currently it's the same as #2. All right, so let's take these guys and turn them into art brushes. And you do that by bringing up the Brushes panel, and then if you're working along with me, go ahead and select that top wiggly path, and drag it and drop it into the Brushes panel. Notice that I have a little plus sign next my cursor. If I want to create a new brush, I just go ahead and drop it into place and release the mouse button. However, if you want to replace an existing brush--I just want you to see this is possible-- you press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac. And notice now you see a heavy outline around the existing chalk round.
However, I don't really see any purpose in replacing one brush with another. We might as well keep all of our brushes intact. So I'm going to release the Alt or Option key and just go ahead and drop that path outline into the Brushes panel. Illustrator next asks what kind of brush you want to create. It can be a Scatter Brush, an Art Brush, or a Pattern Brush. The reason Calligraphic and Bristle Brush are dimmed is because both of those styles rely entirely on numerical parameters. They have nothing to do with existing path outlines. So go ahead and select Art Brush and click OK and you'll be met by this gigantic dialog box, most of which you can safely ignore.
One of the options you can't ignore is Name. So I'll go ahead and paste in a name, which is Chalk alt #1. You can go ahead and modify the Width value and even change it to a percentage of its current size. However, you are not really going to know if that's what you want to do until you apply the brush to a path outline. So, not really the kind of thing you do in advance. You can go ahead and set the Brush so it Scales Proportionally, but that's not going to work in our case. You also have this interesting option here, which is the Stretch Between Guides. So you have to set up guidelines, presumably vertical guidelines in our case, inside of your document window. And then any portion of the art brush between those guidelines will scale, anything outside the guidelines will not scale.
However, of course that would require guides and I don't have any. So I'm just going to stick with the default setting, Stretch to Fit Stroke Length. Notice then you've got these Direction options. Nine times out of ten you're going to want the default setting, once again, which is Stroke From Left to Right, and that way you stroke the art brush from left to right along the direction of the path outline. You can set it to something else, such as Perpendicular if you want, but probably you don't. So I'll go ahead and switch it back to Left to Right. You have also got the Options to flip the brush along the path--that would be Left to Right in our case--or across the path, which would be vertical in the case of this preview anyway. But again, that's a decision you're going to make on-the-fly.
And then finally, Overlap is now set to this default setting where Illustrator goes ahead and adjusts the art brush at any corner points to fill in gaps. And that's a great default setting; it's highly unlikely in fact that you're ever going to want to change that. The one thing you're going to want to change, besides the name of the brush, is the method. So assuming that you're starting with a black art brush or black path, as I am, and you want to be able to colorize it by assigning a color to the stroke, then you want to change the method from None to Tints.
It's that simple, and that's all there is to it. Then click OK in order to create that brush. And now let's do the same thing with brush #2 here. I'll go ahead and marquee these two paths this time, both the wiggly path and the invisible rectangle behind it, and I'll drag and drop the paths into the Brushes panel, select Art Brush, click OK. Go ahead and paste in the name, Chalk alt #2, and I'll change the method to Tint, and then I'll click OK in order to create that brush. And you can see they appear at the bottom of the list of our brushes, although you can drag them and drop them to different locations if you like.
All right, now to assign these brushes to the text, I'll go ahead and hide the Brushes panel, then I'll press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y on the Mac to switch to the Preview mode. Turn off the Chalk alts layer, turn on the base layer. You are going to probably be too close to your letters there. So I'll go ahead and zoom out a little bit, so we can take in the end of the word BRUSH. And then I'll click on it's baseline to select the letters. I'll switch over to the Appearance panel, and I'll click on that final green stroke, Chalk-Round. And then I'll click on the tiny brush preview and I'll scroll down the list until I find the new brushes that I just created, including Chalk alt #1.
Now this is the one that's cut off at the ends. And notice as soon as I select it, I end up with a much more uniform stroke around the letters, even though it does have some wiggle of course associated with it. But notice these cuts at these various locations right there at the tip of the S, and there's another one right there at the tip of the serif of the H. What that is, is the point at which the path begins and ends. So all character outlines are closed paths, but Illustrator always sees paths, whether closed or open, as having beginnings and endings. It's just with the closed path, it's a single anchor point.
And it happens to be located right there on the S and right there on the H. You could convert the text outlines and then change the point at which the letters begin and end, but it's going to happen somewhere. So anyway, the moral of the story is having those ends cut off does not service well. Now you may figure the solution would be to click on word Stroke up here for example, and then assign a Cap; but while you can't go ahead and assign a Cap to a art brush stroke, is it doesn't do anything. And same for the corner settings as well, by the way. So instead, what we're going to do is switch to a different brush.
I'll go ahead and click on that tiny little brush preview and I'll switch to Chalk alt #2, the one that has the ends that exceed beyond that invisible rectangle that represents the path outline. And as I was saying, everything gets exaggerated when you're stretching one of these art brushes along a path outline or a character outline in our case, and sure enough we get quite a bit of exaggeration right there. Those are those edges being stretched over here at the corner of the H and this tip of the S as well.
Now it's kind of a cool effect, but it doesn't happen to be the effect that I want where this text is concerned. So I'm going to need to split the difference, and I'll show you what that looks like in the very next movie.
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